Notes: Bruins' power play continues to sputter


Notes: Bruins' power play continues to sputter

By JoeHaggerty

MONTREAL The track record isnt great.

The last team to capture a Stanley Cup playoff series without scoring at least one power-play goal was the Detroit Red Wings during a four-game sweep of the Anaheim Ducks in 2003.

Its much more difficult to track down a team that emerged victorious in a six- or seven-game series without a power-play goal. And if the Bruins -- now a pathetic 0-for-19 with the man advantage during their series against the Canadiens -- wind up losing, their failure to convert on the power play will be a big reason why.

Weve got to be a lot better on the PP, said Mark Recchi. Were not getting any sustained pressure to top it off. Were getting one shot or one hit, and its getting blocked down."

The Bruins managed a grand total of two shots on net in their four power plays Tuesday night, and its gotten to the point where theres little puck movement once in the zone and absolutely no creative player movement without the puck to force the Habs penalty killers into unfamiliar territory.

The Bruins seem exceptionally frustrated that they cant get even consistently maintain possession in the offensive zone while skating with the man advantage, and its gotten to the point where perhaps things need to be a little different. The current power-play design isnt surprising anybody, and is certainly not sneaking up on a Montreal team thats seen their power play time and time again over the five years.

Its up to Claude Julien and more specifically assistant Geoff Ward, who's in charge of the power play to start discovering ways to tweak the man advantage, perhaps adding Zdeno Chara to the big bodies down low around the net when things are getting a little rough.

Recchi wasnt biting when asked about potentially switching up the personnel and placing Chara smack dab in front of the net.

Thats not my job," Recchi said. "My job is whatever the coach tells me to go do. Whatever they come up with, well work through it and go there."

Milan Lucic was not given a match penalty for his hit from behind on Jaroslav Spacek that ended with the Bs big left winger's night. He did get a game misconduct and was tossed out of the game.

Claude Julien and the rest of the Bruins didnt want to comment on the incident.

I havent had any chance to really look at it closely, said Julien. You see quick replays here and there, but its something that I need to see here before Im able to comment on that.

Shawn Thornton managed only four shifts and 2:27 of ice time in the first period of Game 6 as the special teams took over. With that in mind, and with a power play thats getting absolutely nothing done, could there be a movement to start playing Tyler Seguin against the Canadiens.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON, Mass – Malcolm Subban says that he believes that he can still be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that’s admirable on some level for the sheer, brazen self-confidence involved in saying this after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden, pretty much all of the evidence points out the contrary. Nearly two years after getting pulled from his NHL debut in against the St. Louis Blues after giving up three goals on six shots, Subban was pulled from Tuesday night’s appearance after giving up three goals on eight second period shots with the Bruins desperately in need of a quality start in goal.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone after another humbling NHL effort against Minnesota, and that’s a testament to the maturity and mental toughness of the person behind the goalie mask.

“It sucks. Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one. Obviously it sucks, but what can you do now, right?” said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously I want to be a number one goaltender in the league. I was a high pick for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it. Obviously, I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero tangible evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Instead he’s the emergency goaltender called on by the Bruins only after Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin have both been shelved by injuries, and he’s now flunked the two pop quizzes when the NHL team needed him to come through.

Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft class have already proven their NHL worth and broken through at the elite level: Matt Murray, Frederik Anderson, Connor Hellebuyck and Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly with a Bruins team not playing well in front of him. The first goal was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third goal was a softie low and to the glove side, power play strike authored by Ryan Suter. It added up to poor goaltending and shoddy defense, but it also added up to a Bruins goaltender that didn’t even give his hockey club a chance to win.

“It could be a combination of both. There are some goals – I’m not going to lie – there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had. But I’m not here to talk about a goaltender who’s in one of his first few games because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him and we weren’t any better, and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka [Rask] is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough, and Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide open shots from the slot - like the Chris Stewart score in the second period that arrived 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal - are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player in Subban that should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, and anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after failing in each of his first two NHL starts. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first round bust for the Bruins rather than suddenly develop into a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender in Boston.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer than that if Rask can’t make rapid progress with his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and the four goals allowed to Minnesota were not all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that Subban should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie that’s been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, and plays like a goaltender that’s never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.